Beer family

In 1916, Lt. James Robert Allan of the 3rd Division Signal Corp, 3rd Canadian Division, was stationed in France, just as one of the bloodiest battles of World War I got underway. And like so many service men and women, Lt. Allan had left behind somebody he loved in order to serve "King and Country." The woman he left back home, and missed so dearly, was his fiancée Vivien Beer of Strathroy, Ontario. The two had met one Sunday, with "Jim" a soldier in uniform. They quickly fell in love and began writing to one another. But as with so many things associated with war and upheaval, the story ended tragically.


For a young man from Ontario, the trenches of France must have been a terrifying place. Yet in spite of all that was happening around him, James Allan made little reference to life at the front. Instead, he wrote of his love for Vivien Beer, and asked her to write him more often. But Lt. Allan's reticence on army life may have had more to do with military secrecy than sparing his fiancée unpleasant details on life at the front. The stamp in the upper left-hand corner of the letter's envelope reads "PASSED FIELD INSPECTION 2511.

When letters from Jim stopped coming, Vivien may have suspected the worst. Then the awful news came that Captain Allan, recently promoted from Lieutenant, had been killed in action. Captain T.C. McGill, who had taken over Allan's duties, wrote to Vivien to explain the circumstances of his death.

Vivien later became a nurse, practicing in Toronto.  She never married.

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